“I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in Him in all speech and all knowledge— even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you— so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”
1 Corinthians v 4 – 9
I have been challenged, this week, when I’ve been reading and studying First Corinthians. Paul writes this letter to a messy and broken church. It’s filled with obvious sin that’s being committed by obviously sinful people. As I thought about it, I was shocked. Paul is not only making time for these people; he starts his letter by encouraging them, praying for them, even giving thanks for them! But, verse four is clear. This is only possible because of what Jesus has done for them.
The more I thought about this, the more I realised that we are still sinful people, struggling with all kinds of sin, today. We might not struggle with the same sins as people in Corinth – which makes it easy for us to judge them – but we can’t escape from considering our own sin. What’s amazing is that we, even though we’re not worthy of it, we are still God’s people because of His incredible grace to us in Jesus. Our own churches may look messy and broken, we might see obvious sin and obviously sinful people, but they are still full of God’s grace and love.
As we think about school friends, family, and our GB friends, we should pray for them in the same way that Paul prays in verse five: that their lives would be enriched by the love of Jesus, shown on the cross, and that all of our speech and knowledge would reflect this amazing love.
We might look around and think that people or things in our churches or GB companies need to change, but verses six and seven remind us that our churches are not lacking in any gift. God gives us everything we need to serve Him. In fact, we’re not even serving Him by our own strength. We’re serving Him with His strength as we are sustained by Him (v8).
So, as I reflect on God’s church and His people, I am reminded of His goodness and faithfulness to us. I am reminded of His love for us even when we or our churches or our GB companies or our Youth Groups seem so harmed by sin. In fact, we are told in verse nine that God is faithful. He has called us to be His followers and to have fellowship with Him.
With all this in mind, let’s be challenged when we’re looking at our fellow Christians: don’t judge, don’t get disheartened, but remember God’s goodness – goodness that was shown to the people in Corinth – is still being shown to them today. Let’s reflect on His faithfulness, goodness and love. Let’s push ourselves to pray for other Christians, to encourage them with God’s love for them in Jesus because that’s how Paul has encouraged the struggling Corinthians.
Laura Kelso, GBNI Admin Officer